Start J.P. Arencibia or Geovany Soto
By David Cash
The Texas Rangers signed J.P. Arencibia to a one year deal worth $1.8 million for the 2014 season. The Texas Rangers had a couple of choices to back up Geovany Soto, such as Brian McCann, Kurt Suzuki, Jorge Alfaro and Brett Nicholas.
Even though it is rumored that the Texas Rangers were looking at Brian McCann, it always seemed unlikely. Mainly because they have a star in the waiting with Jorge Alfaro. And some could argue that they have another in Brett Nicholas.
Sept. 4, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Arizona Diamondbacks base runner Tony Campana (right) slides safely into home ahead of the tag by Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia in the seventh inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With the signing of J.P. Arencibia to a one year deal, it seems to me that Jon Daniels believes in what he as in the minors. This could be a sign that Alfaro or Nicholas could soon see time in the bigs.
Recently this year, the Texas Rangers showed interest in picking up Arencibia by trying to acquire him via trade from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays didn’t not tender Arencibia at the arbitration deadline, allowing him to be a free agent.
It has been known for awhile that the Texas Rangers have needed a second catcher behind Soto. Jon Daniels and Ron Washington have said that Soto will be the primary catcher.
But should that change?
With the signing J.P. Arencibia, Jon Daniels should reconsider. During spring training, I’m sure Arencibia will make a case that he should be the primary catcher for the 2014 season.
He may not have the best numbers batting, but he is very strong defensively.
Both Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia have a career average of throwing out runners at 26% (league average 27%). And both are not the best batters, but not many catchers are. Soto has a career batting average of .248/.335/.439/.774 while Arencibia has an average of .212/.258/.408/.666. Soto wins on this one, but Arencibia has batted well in the minors and started batting even better after he had Lasik eye surgery.
Between the two, J. P. Arencibia is the power hitter. He’s averaging about 20 home runs per season. Soto on the other hand averages only 10 over the past 4 years.
There are some signs that say that the power behind J. P. Arencibia, his ability to call a game and defense say he should be the primary catcher. Soto does bat better, also has the ability to call a good game, strong defensively and most importantly is Yu Darvish‘s favorite target.
Soto has mainly played back up to someone, he will now get his chance to play full time. It seems that with more playing time, Soto should have a decent batting average in the range of .250 with 22-25 home runs and about 70-77 RBIs.
If you compare this to J. P. Arencibia, who has been playing full time, Soto is the better option.
Daniels and Washington said Soto will be the primary catcher a month ago, and it still appears that way. I’m sure J. P. Arencibia will get plenty of time behind the plate and even a chance to play for the primary spot during spring training, but more than likely the primary backstop will be Soto.